Making Healthy Families

Gayle Peterson, LCSW, PhD


This course meets the qualifications for 10 hours of continuing education units



We are pleased and honored to offer courses by Gayle Peterson, LCSW, Ph.D, a renowned family therapist, prenatal and child development specialist.

Making Healthy Families examines the creation and growth of healthy, functional families throughout developmental stages of the family life cycle. Family life stages, from "Becoming a Couple," to "Becoming Parents," and "Raising Adolescents." are explored. It educates therapists to enable them to guide parents about the predictable stresses of family life transitions, and offers guidelines and hands-on exercises for achieving a healthy adjustment in each stage of family life, from becoming a couple, through pregnancy, birth, childhood and adolescence. Each life stage of the family is discussed, incorporating leading edge research to teach the clinician about what constitutes a healthy family. Loss, divorce and stepfamilies are also discussed in depth.

Learn what makes families work - from structure and communication to family style and characteristics of healthy marital relationships. Cutting edge research is enlivened through real-life questions about marriage, family, child development and parenting that have been answered by Dr. Peterson.
Making Healthy Families is based on grauduate and post graduate clinical courses on The Family Life Cycle at John F. Kennedy University and California Institute for Integral Studies.
(Adapted from the Back Cover)


Learning Objectives

This 10 unit course will help clinicians :

1. Understand the development of the family life cycle and be able to identify stages and the developmental tasks facing parents in each family stage.
2. Identify the characteristics that contribute to the development of healthy family systems.
3. Clarify normal versus dysfunctional family processes especially with regard to problem solving and maintaining connection in family relationships.
4. Make predictions for dysfunction in particular stages, based on mapping the family history of the client.
5. Become cognizant of the importance of family-of-origin issues as they impact countertransference.

"Peterson covers all stages of the family unit from becoming a couple to raising teenagers in order to help parents understand and efficiently negotiate the normal, varied stages of the family life cycle. Of special value is a chapter on troubleshooting tips to help parents anticipate their own predictable stress points on the family life cycle. Making Healthy Families is highly recommended for parents at all stages of parenthood, marriage and family counselors, as well as students of psychology." Wisconsin Book Watch, March 2000

This course meets the qualifications for 10 hours of continuing education units

is an approved continuing education provider by the:

Board of Registered Nursing (#13620)
California Board of Behavioral Science (#1540)
Florida Board of Clinical Social Work, Marriage and Family Therapy and Mental Health Counseling (BAP #753)
NAADAC - The Association for Addiction Professionals (#478)
National Association of Social Workers (#886382116)
National Board for Certified Counselors (#6055)
Ohio Counselor, Social Work and Marriage and Family CPE (#RCST090402)
The Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors (#52526)
The Texas Board of Social Work Examiners (#CS3473)
maintains responsibility for the program.


This course consists of a post-test based upon reading the text. The online portions include a Forum for discussion and the post-test. There is no online material to read. After you pass the post-test, you may print out your own certificate.

  Cost - $110 for 10 ces + $23.95 text + shipping & handling

To receive credit students must

* Paperback: 264 pages * ISBN: 0962523151
* Publisher: Shadow and Light Publications; ; (January 1, 2000)
$23.95 + shipping and handling
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  • Pass the post-test
  • Upon passing the test, you will receive a certificate of completion.


Table of Contents

Part I Becoming a Couple

CHAPTER ONE: Creating Your Garden
Resolving prior stages of the family life cycle
Fortifying Your Couple's Bond
Five Dimensions of Family and Marital Health

CHAPTER TWO : How Does Your Garden Grow?
Seven Characteristics of Healthy Families
Family structure: Who is in charge?
Balancing kids and marriage

CHAPTER THREE : Pregnancy and Childbirth
Empowerment and choice in childbirth
What Contributes To Self Esteem In Birthing Women?
Pregnancy loss

Part II Becoming Parents

CHAPTER FOUR : Tilling Your Garden
Cultural influences on motherhood, and creating a parenting "team"

Redefining relationships after baby arrives
Couple's identity and new family formation
Placing Love In Equal Relationship To Work
CHAPTER FIVE : Communication and Conflict
Recovering the relationship after an affair
Listening and empathy
Exercise: Exploring your childhood experience
Communication under pressure: Conflict and compromise
Exercise: Identifying your discussion-busters!
Exercise: Overcoming destructive patterns
CHAPTER SIX : Sex and Healing in Marriage
Cultural programming about sexual intimacy

The Healing Potential of Marriage
Exercise: Recognizing potentials for healing

CHAPTER SEVEN: What Is "Good Enough" Parenting?
Attunement And Self-Esteem In Child Rearing
Healthy attunement or over-identification?
Guidelines for handling your child's anger
Guidelines for helping children recover from loss or trauma

Part III Crisis and Transformation on the Family Life Cycle

CHAPTER EIGHT: Raising Adolescents
Changing the parent-child relationship
Parenting during adolescence
Contracting for life with your teenager
Teaching values to adolescents

CHAPTER NINE : Divorce: Choices in growth and pain
Is divorce always damaging to children?
Helping kids cope with divorce
Dealing with visitation

CHAPTER TEN: Making Healthy Stepfamilies
Characteristics of healthy remarriage
Establishing family rituals
Keeping children out of the middle of conflict

CHAPTER ELEVEN: Trouble-shooting and Preventing Predictable Pitfalls
Exercise: Predicting your sensitive stages on the family life cycle


Can wife and husband have an "equal" relationship?
Web Wisdom
Bibliography and Resources


APA Ethics

We do adhere to the American Psychological Association's Ethical Principles of Psychologists. Our courses are carefully screened by the Planning Committee to adhere to APA standards. We also require authors who compose Internet courses specifically for us follow APA ethical standards.

Many of our courses contain case material, and may use the methods of qualitative research and analysis, in-depth interviews and ethnographic studies. The psychotherapeutic techniques depicted may include play therapy, sandplay therapy, dream analysis, drawing analysis, client and therapist self-report, etc. The materials presented may be considered non-traditional and may be controversial, and may not have widespread endorsement within the profession. maintains responsibility for the program and its content.



Gayle Peterson, LCSW, PhD is a family therapist specializing in prenatal and family development. She trains professionals in her prenatal counseling model and is the author of An Easier Childbirth, Birthing Normally and her latest book, Making Healthy Families. Her articles on family relationships appear in professional journals and she is an oft-quoted expert in popular magazines such as Woman's Day, Mothering and Parenting. She is a clinical member of The Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and a Diplomate with the National Association of Social Work. She also serves on the advisory board for Fit Pregnancy Magazine.

Dr. Gayle Peterson has written family columns for, and the Bay Area's Parents Press newspaper. She has also hosted a live radio show, "Ask Dr. Gayle" on, answering questions on family relationships and parenting. Dr. Peterson has appeared on numerous radio and television interviews including Canadian broadcast as a family and communications expert in the twelve part documentary "Baby's Best Chance".

She is former clinical director of the Holistic Health Program at John F. Kennedy University in Orinda, California and adjunct faculty at the California Institute for Integral Studies in San Francisco. A national public speaker on women's issues and family development, Gayle Peterson practices psychotherapy in Berkeley, California and is a wife, mother of two adult children and a proud grandmother.



To order this course

More courses by Dr. Peterson:

Body-Centered Hypnosis for Pregnancy and Childbirth Video Course

Please also visit Gayle Peterson's website


To order

e-mail us!

Frequently Asked Questions



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